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Cornwall Marine Directory

Cornwall Marine Directory :: Take only photos, leave only footprints

Take only photos, leave only footprints

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Cornwall is a special place with an extremely valuable marine environment and this environment needs to be protected even from those who love it. Here are some practical ideas about how we can all work to reduce the impact on this wonderful environment.

Here are seven golden rules:

  1. Reduce use of fossil fuels
  2. Reduce toxins penetrating our environment
  3. Use less
  4. Respect our wildlife, coastline and countryside
  5. Choose local products
  6. Reduce, re-use, recycle
  7. Be an ambassador for change

1) Be as efficient as you can and cut down on use of fossil fuels
Use power other than your engine whenever possible. If your boat has sails use them whenever you can. Row out to your mooring and if the wind lets you down, think about changing your plans rather than pushing on under engine power.

Don't hurry. Take your time, enjoy the scenery, cut your revs and burn less fuel. When pumping your inflatable use foot power rather than an electric pump. Service your marine engine regularly – ensure your engine is running efficiently and use green energy to charge batteries. Solar panels or a wind generator can trickle charge your boat's batteries.

By substituting human effort for machine-driven power wherever possible you are not only cutting down your carbon footprint – you're also keeping your heart fitter which gives you a longer lifetime to enjoy time on the water.

If you tow a trailer ensure its tyre pressures are correct and moving parts are regularly lubricated. When towing or car-topping keep your speed down to increase fuel efficiency. When cooking on-board only boil the water that you need and cover pans with a lid.

Use public services when you can – many areas have a network of ferries see Fal River Links and St Mary's Ferryboatman's Association.

2) Avoid releasing toxins into the environment as much as possible
Avoid refueling in rough water when you risk spillage. Use eco-friendly cleaning products such as Ecover washing-up liquid or natural cleaning agents such as lemon juice, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. When working with toxic substances avoid spillage and dispose of paints and oils in the proper fashion.

Use rechargeable batteries for torches and other handheld devices. Think about investing in a wind-up radio to catch the weather forecast. The Centre for Alternative Technology stocks a range of products designed to help you live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle, Check out

Avoid flushing sanitary towels, wet wipes or cotton buds down a sea toilet. Dispose of them properly ashore and ensure chemical toilet wastage is disposed of correctly. Remember you should report any pollution incidents to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.

3) Using less is better
Avoid needless packaging like plastic sandwich packets. Instead use local bakeries and only accept packaging that is really necessary. Reuse plates and cups and repair broken equipment using local services, yards and sailmakers wherever you can.

4) Respect our wildlife, coastline and countryside
Don't harass wildlife – observe it from a safe distance, use binoculars to get close-up and never go closer than 100m (200m for two boats) with no more than three boats at any one time. Try not to spend longer than 15 minutes near the animals, especially if they are drawing crowds.

Try to keep the wake of your boat down to an absolute minimum when navigating inland waterways. Constant exposure to boat wake can be a highly erosive process.

Take your litter home and reuse and recycle what you can. Record and report what you see, particularly anything unusual like dolphins, basking sharks or turtles. Call the Environmental Records Centre on 01872 240 777. All information is used to help conserve them.

Take part in a beach clean event – for more information, see . Cut plastic four-pack can holding rings or strapping before disposal. Learn about sea life and tell people about it. The more people that know about the marine environment and the problems it faces, the more likely they will help to do something about it. Observe the countryside code, you can find it at

5) Eat locally, buy locally, enjoy local products
Repair your equipment using local services, yards and sail makers whenever you can. Visit farmers' markets, farm shops, village stores, pubs and cafés – Cornwall's distinctive culture shines through the local produce on offer here – view eating the local produce as part of the attraction of your visit to Cornwall, don't go hunting for home comforts from the nearest supermarket.

6) Reduce waste, reuse instead of dumping and recycle where you can
Use old clothes and toothbrushes to clean. Use reusable cotton bags rather than thin plastic ones. Endangered turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and consequently die from choking on them. Minimise use of plastic bottles and recycle those you do use. It's estimated that one plastic bottle will take more than one million years to decompose in the sea. For more information on how to recycle anything from aerosol cans to copies of the Yellow Pages go to

7) Be an ambassador for change

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Take only photos, leave only footprints or the gentle wake of a boat
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